The Fourth of July is one of the few holidays when the publishing industry slows down (the others being New Year's Day, Christmas and Thanksgiving), which means we get a three-day weekend! Now, one could spend said holiday grilling buffalo burgers, drinking brews and lighting fireworks for 72 hours straight—but where's the art in that? (Unless, of course, you’re actually creating a piece of performance art dissecting American culture, but I digress.) One could also spend the weekend visiting galleries throughout Albuquerque starting on Thursday, July 3, at the N4th Gallery's opening of Getting Things Done: 2008 VSA AmeriCorps Exhibition from 5 to 8 p.m. and continuing on Friday and Saturday with opening receptions at multiple galleries from 5 to 8:30 p.m. both days. For a complete list of participating galleries and their exhibits, visit artscrawlabq.org.
Playgrounds are places for picking favorites. Not just in games of Capture the Flag and Red Rover, but for equipment as well. Most of my elementary school classmates favored the slide. The gymnastics girls always hogged the monkey bars to show off how well they could dangle by a single foot. Me, I loved the swing. Specifically, a fraying yellow rope hanging at the corner of the playground, away from the hustle of Hide and Seek. The day it broke, I held a piece of it in my hands and cried.
Gore Vidal is one of America’s most pugnacious, intelligent and politically engaged living essayists, but until now, the only book of his selected essays one could readily buy was United States, a 1,300-page compendium the size of a New York City phone book. This handier volume, neatly organized by Vidal’s literary executor, Jay Parini, ought to make introductions to the writer’s best work far less likely to lead to herniated disks. It also reminds us that when it comes to the battles of his day, Vidal would hit back as hard as Norman Mailer, often harder.